It’s here. At long last I am well on my way, sitting through the first leg of my 20+ hour trip to explore all the delights New Zealand has to offer. I’m not counting this as Day 1 of my trip though. This is Day 0. Prep day. Travel day. The on-ramp. I’m simply not feeling the adage of the journey vs. destination because, in this case, the real journey awaits me at my destination.
That’s not to say that I’m a grumpy ball of frustration on the trip over. Quite the opposite. It’s a few hours of quiet respite that is so desperately needed after weeks of hectic lead-up to this adventure of all adventures. And because I’m a giant #nerd that likes to mix all my fantasy realms into one big magical pot of gold, I sorta kinda a little bit feel like I’m on the Hogwarts Express. It’s a bad metaphor, I know. But there you have it. Speaking of which, I’d really be down for some Bertie Bott’s right now…
But let me back up. Probably most of you reading this know who I am (hi friends!), and I’ve likely mentioned reasons for the trip (HOBBITSES). Yes, I am drawn to New Zealand like the one ring is drawn to Mt. Doom, but it’s more complicated than my nerdy gravitational pull towards nerd mecca. 6 days hence, I will be entering a new decade of my life. The big 3-0. It’s been a gnarly, rocky road, filled – as life usually is – with unexpected twists and turns. In contemplating this milestone, I decided I wanted to turn 30 setting the stage for how I want to spend the next 10 years of my life. That means traveling, writing, taking risks, meeting new people, immersing myself in a new culture, reading like a fiend, boldly venturing into the unknown and being comfortable in my own skin. I also hope I can be at peace with the creeping loneliness that a trip like this is bound to inspire. That even the best life can inspire. The motivation behind this trip, besides the obvious, umm yea duh it’s New Zealand you idiot, is a bit convoluted. It’s sticky and tangled and in some ways murky even to me. There’s one thing I know for sure though – I aim to embrace vulnerability and be a (cliche warning) true open book. Sharing my journey with the 2 or 3 of you reading is part of owning that. It’s scary and hard but also awesome.
Back home I was asked again and again, “Are you excited? Are you looking forward to your trip?” and truth be told, when I was still in Minneapolis, no. There is so much uncertainty, there were so many loose ends that needed tying. But now, nestled in my seat typing away and looking ahead I can safely say – oh god yes. For the first time in my life, I’m taking a completely solo trip to explore a new country. It takes cojones, and I wasn’t sure that I had them. Turns out I do – girl version of them anyway. And so, onwards with this airborne journey. Because with every passing hour, I become more and more lost dreaming dreams about the actual journey that awaits me in a land across the sea.
Oh and Debra, Potato Pancakes.